Quite a Year!!!

21

Firstly, let me apologise that this is out a couple of days later than usual, but I was on Christmas leave last Friday as I am working over New Year this year. I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas, however and whoever you spent it with. We did, despite my mum being unable to join us as planned, as she didn’t feel well enough to travel to our house from her home in Nottingham. We did have Chris’s mum, Audrey, to stay for a few days and Sophie and her new family, Reece and his children Amber and Taylor, joined us for Christmas Day which was hugely enjoyable. We had a very tasty Christmas lunch and lots of fun and laughter playing games in our Christmas themed clothing. I was in sparkles, while Nana (Audrey), Sophie, Chris and Reece were in Christmas knitwear… I get too hot! I particularly liked the jumper we bought for Reece on our recent visit to New York – it had a drinks holder pocket on the front – it came in very handy!

After we had dropped Audrey back in Spalding on Friday, we drove across to Nottingham to give my mum her presents and have lunch with her before driving back on Friday evening.

Talking of presents, I was very lucky in receiving tickets to go and watch a live orchestra performance of the James Bond movie, Skyfall, at the Royal Albert Hall next October as well as a new pair of sunglasses which I have yet to choose. I also received this writer’s clock, which really made me chuckle and is so apt in light of my recent book deal and the deadlines I will now have to meet!

That is looking ahead to 2019, but in this week’s blog I thought I’d have a look back at some of the exhilarating highs and devastating lows that came my way in 2018.

January started well with a trip to New York for Chris and myself, accompanied by our son. It was bitterly cold and we were treated to some snow but we all absolutely loved it. Our son flew home but Chris and I flew on to Antigua for a week to ‘recover’, where we also celebrated forty years of living together! We had decided that we were going to get married and we were planning our engagement for April 1st, April Fool’s Day, but unfortunately we had to change our plans.

A few days prior, our beautiful elderly cat, Poppy, had started refusing food. She had done this before but this time she resolutely resisted all our attempts to encourage her to eat. I think she had had enough and just wanted to go to sleep. She died in my arms on the morning of April 1st, a devastating blow to all the family who had loved her so over the previous twenty-two years. She is buried in the garden and her grave is now marked by a red enamel poppy. My heart goes out to you if you have lost a much-loved pet this year.

On April 11th we invited some of our closest friends to join our family for dinner to celebrate our engagement. I absolutely love my engagement ring, designed and made with the help of the talented Alison O’Reilly. We need to have a chat about wedding bands, as the wedding is going to be on August 27th, which would have been my mum and dad’s platinum wedding anniversary. We have no firm plans yet but it will definitely be on a beach somewhere.

A couple of weeks later, the final phase of the building work started on our house. I’m not going to lie, it has been pretty tough at times, particularly six weeks without a proper kitchen, but I can honestly say the upheaval has all been worth it!

From this…

… to this!

I LOVE what we have achieved (it’s not quite finished yet, as the utility room is still to be sorted) and a massive thanks has to go to our son for his help, particularly in laying the patio at the bottom of the garden next to my gym which meant we had somewhere to sit outside in all the glorious hot weather.

My 62nd birthday in June was celebrated in Brighton with Sophie, Reece and family, and my friend Natalie. Who would have thought I would have zipwired for the first time at my age… but I must say it was huge fun.

At the beginning of July , I went down to Devon to spend a few days with my friend Debbie Flint at Retreats for You. It was the writing I got done while there that helped me finish the book, which I submitted to the publisher I have now signed a three book deal with, so I owe her a debt of gratitude. I was there during England’s World Cup penalty shoot-out with Colombia… I think there may have been a bit of screaming going on! Goodness knows what her neighbours made of it all in the sleepy village of Sheepwash!

Throughout 2018, I have had what can only be described as ‘tummy’ issues! I have had just about every test possible to try and find out what was causing the problem. I now know I’m not lactose or gluten intolerant, I don’t have a bacterial overgrowth in my gut and there are no serious underlying problems in my large or small intestine. It would seem it is some form of IBS which, after all the medical investigations, I am now controlling by taking peppermint oil capsules – thank you for the advice Chloe Everton.

I’ve also had my regular chronic myeloid leukaemia check ups – I am still currently drug-free but am expecting to start on a new medication in March as the levels of the disease are on the rise again, unfortunately. I’ve been having various appointments for my post polio syndrome too. I now have custom-made insoles which although a little uncomfortable are helping the position of my left ankle when I walk.

So, I have seen the inside of a lot of hospitals this year and could have done without visiting another one on our family holiday to Javea, Spain, in August. Unfortunately, I had a fall on the second evening of our holiday (stone-cold sober, I might add) which resulted in me being carted off in an ambulance to have stitches in my knee. It did somewhat spoil the rest of my holiday, as I couldn’t go swimming.

It was while in Spain that interest grew around my manuscript and, after a minor re-write, I was offered my book deal with Bookouture, one of the most prolific and successful digital first publishers in the UK. It will be quite a punishing schedule with book 1 due for release in July, book 2 in November and book 3 in April 2020 but I’m not afraid of hard work. At least I won’t be spending quite so much time on my QVC blogs as I did over this past summer. I hope you enjoyed the series looking back over the twenty-five years of QVC UK from my point of view?

We celebrated the 25th birthday on air with a brilliant cake replica of the first item we ever sold – the VW Beetle alarm clock. Around this time we also welcomed Kathryn Goldsmith to the presenting team on my new Fashion on Friday show on the QVC Style channel at 6pm. We’ve since also welcomed Natasha Ashgar to the ever-growing team to help cover all the additional live hours on the ‘extra’ channels.

My year drew to a close with another trip to New York at the end of November. I hadn’t visited the ‘big apple’ since 1976 and now I’ve been twice in one year. It was to celebrate my son’s birthday, as he had expressed a desire to watch the New England Patriots play live. We went to a game against the New York Jets at the MetLife stadium – what a great experience. I’m not going to pretend I have a full grasp of the rules, but I understand it a bit better now than before I went.

So health-wise, it hasn’t been the best of years for me but, of course, it could have been much worse and my thoughts are with those of you battling your own health issues at the moment. I’m thrilled that my writing is going from strength to strength – thanks to those of you who have bought my recent release, Carol’s Singing, and have left lovely comments on my Facebook page @JuliaRobertsTV . I’m delighted that my daughter is happy and settled with her new family and grateful that both mine and Chris’s mum are in relatively good health for their age – 92 and 84 respectively.

And of course, it has been such a milestone year for QVC UK, celebrating our 25th birthday. Thank you so much to each and every one of you for shopping with us and here’s to a happy and healthy 2019.

Much love,
Julia xx

21 Comments

  1. Bev Young January 1, 2019 at 1:15 am -  Reply

    Wishing you love , happiness and light Julia xxx and a very happy and healthy New Year xx

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2019 at 3:31 pm -  Reply

      Hi Bev
      Thanks for your good wishes for the New Year. I hope it’s a good one for you too
      Love
      Julia x

  2. Paula January 1, 2019 at 3:44 pm -  Reply

    Happy New Year Julia!! What are your resolutions this year? <3

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2019 at 3:34 pm -  Reply

      Hi Paula
      Happy New Year to you too. I don’t do resolutions anymore but I do have goals. One is to meet the deadlines for my books this year and another is to get back into a regular fitness regime.
      Love
      Julia x

  3. Linda Boomer January 1, 2019 at 10:31 pm -  Reply

    Wishing you Health & Happiness for the New Year Julia! Have loved watching the progress of your building work. Looks stunning. Have read all your books to date & looking forward to more this year! I Re-married my ex husband in September (unusual I know) & our daughter is getting married in April, 4 months before you. Wedding fever or what? Fills my heart with sunbeams! Love Linda xx

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2019 at 3:38 pm -  Reply

      Hi Linda
      It w
      Has been quite a year for building work but so happy with the results of it all! So pleased to hear you enjoy my writing. I’m looking forward to ‘Cassie’ (working title) coming out later in the year and need to get a wiggle on with the second in the series due for release in November.
      Congratulations on your re- marriage and the forthcoming nuptials for your daughter – I really need to start planning our wedding in August… I am a bit of a last-minute Lulu!
      Love
      Julia x

  4. Irene January 2, 2019 at 1:41 am -  Reply

    So enjoyed reading your blog sorry you have had some health issues in 2018 hope in this new year you will be fine and overcome everything good luck with your new books and god bless you and your family so sorry you lost your cat I know how that feels my beloved cat is buried in my garden I have planted lots of Lovly flowers where he lays I have 4 other cats now x

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2019 at 3:42 pm -  Reply

      Hi Irene,
      The health issues unfortunately are ongoing it’s just about managing them better really.
      I can’t believe it was only last April that we lost our beautiful Poppy – it seems a lot longer since I’ve seen her adorable face but at least we have Wilfie to lavish attention on. We may get a dog this year or a kitten, or maybe even both.
      Love
      Julia x

  5. Amanda Young January 2, 2019 at 8:13 am -  Reply

    Dear Julia. I love reading your blogs and I really enjoy your honest, presenting style. I too have experienced tummy issues which I relate to starting with the loss of a beloved pet. Grief can have many physical manifestations. Pre and probiotics have helped me and also starting yoga. Much love for a Happy and Healthy New Year.

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2019 at 3:45 pm -  Reply

      Hi Amanda
      Thank you for your kind words re my blogs and presenting style.I do take a good quality daily probiotic but the peppermint oil capsules have really made the big difference for me. I have considered yoga but worry about the standing on one leg which I can’t do on my left side because of the polio. I do love Pilates though.
      Love
      Julia x

  6. Patricia Daly January 2, 2019 at 9:31 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia. Nice to see your achievements on your home improvements. I am impressed by what you’ve done in your home since you moved in. You’ve not stopped really have you.

    Anyway. Just a quick thank you for the tip on the peppermint oil capsules. I’d got some in
    and they have saved me having to go back the doctors.
    Happy New Year.

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2019 at 5:36 pm -  Reply

      Hi Patricia
      We moved in exactly five years ago tomorrow but we didn’t really do much for the first couple of years while we decided what we were going to do – full on for the past couple of years though and I’m loving the result.
      Delighted to hear that the peppermint capsules have worked for you too – what a find!
      Love
      Julia x

  7. melanie marsh January 3, 2019 at 6:28 pm -  Reply

    Dear Julia, I love watching you on QVC and thoroughly enjoy your blogs. I hope your health issues improve in 2019. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading/hearing about your home improvements: home decor is a passion of mine and I have loved seeing yours.
    The loss of your beloved Poppy touched me: pets are such a special part of our lives.
    I heard you say you are considering getting a dog this year: we got a cockapoo 3 years ago and it is honestly the BEST thing we did. The whole family adores her.Wishing you a happy healthy 2019.

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2019 at 5:47 pm -  Reply

      Hi Melanie
      Thanks for you kind words re reading my blogs and also my presentations on QVC. I have tried not to be too boring about the home improvements but at times over the past year it has been all- consuming. Is Chloe’s ‘Teddy’ a cockapoo? He is the most adorable dog and would be high on the list if we decide to get one.
      Wishing you a happy and healthy 2019 too
      Love
      Julia x

  8. Linda January 6, 2019 at 7:42 pm -  Reply

    Happy New year so sorry about poppy I had to put my doggy down after Xmas she was 15 and had a growth under her belly but to old to operate on

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2019 at 5:49 pm -  Reply

      Hi Linda
      So sorry to hear about your dog and at this time of year too but sometimes we have to be kind and let them go.
      Hope the New Year improves for you
      Love
      Julia x

  9. Pauline Frost January 6, 2019 at 9:16 pm -  Reply

    Loved reading your blog Julia.So sorry to hear about Poppy, They do become just like family. I loved the design of your engagemrnt ring. Very class. I too have had a year of tummy troubles. I have another test coming up on the end of this month. Hopefully the last. I am going to try the peppermint capsules. Lovely seeing how the house has come on. Happy Healthy New Year to you and yours. X

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2019 at 5:52 pm -  Reply

      Hi Pauline
      So pleased you enjoy reading my blog. You know, I’m not sure how Poppy would have coped with the building work so maybe it was a blessing in disguise for her.
      I love my engagement ring too – need to get on with planning the wedding!
      I hope the peppermint capsules work as well for you as the have for me -unbelievable difference after over six months of tests!
      Love
      Julia x

  10. Pauline Powers January 6, 2019 at 9:38 pm -  Reply

    Happy New Year ♥️ I also lost my cat Lily in March who was 16 .Broke my heart 💔 so feel for you losing Poppy . Wishing you good health and happiness X

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2019 at 5:43 pm -  Reply

      Hi Pauline
      I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your cat Lily – we get so attached don’t we. Wishing you the best for 2019
      Love
      Julia x

  11. Julie Thorogood January 14, 2019 at 1:20 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia. Happy New Year. I hope this year will be a good one for you.I have just read Carol’s Singing. Loved it. Can’t wait for your next book! I have all your books on my kindle and recently re-read the trilogy. It still made me cry in places!!!
    Love Julie xx

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